COVID-19 – Silverstone Technology Cluster Co-ordinated Response – can you help?

Silverstone Technology Cluster

14th April 2020

To All Engineering Companies in the Silverstone Technology Cluster,

The Silverstone Technology Cluster (STC) https://www.silverstonetechnologycluster.com/ which was set up in 2016, is a members-based organisation, with the aim of supporting and promoting companies in the area. It is a high-tech cluster for advanced engineering, electronics and software development companies.

The area boasts thousands of high-tech, small and medium-sized companies, working in many different sectors including motorsport, automotive, defence, medical devices, aerospace etc.

Companies in the STC are naturally keen to do their bit to help with the COVID-19 situation however, based on discussions last week with government contacts, about the COVID-19 situation, it became clear to me that SMEs would find it hard to help with the national effort, and the advice was to find out what is needed locally and help with that.

So, as Chair of the STC, I got in touch with the Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and on Saturday evening Pim van Baarsen (STC CEO) and Kieron Salter (STC Board member – business rep.) joined me on a call with the person responsible for PPE needs in Northamptonshire, including: two hospitals, 100 care homes, 300 residential care homes, 100 domiciliary care homes, 72 GP practices, 2 acute care homes, private care homes, 2 mental health homes, all social workers, environmental health officers, the policies, firefighters and medical staff from the armed force, working in the county.

There is a list of 14 items that are needed, some in their thousands (25,000 – 50,000), and that’s just for Northamptonshire!

This document provides a bit of general guidance and pretty much mirrors what is on the Northamptonshire list, as follows:

  1. Body bags
  2. Fluid resistant masks
  3. FFP3 masks
  4. Gloves
  5. Long sleeved gowns
  6. Coveralls
  7. Goggles
  8. Hand sanitizer
  9. Antibacterial wipes
  10. Alcohol wipes
  11. Face shields
  12. Scrubs
  13. Side tables
  14. Infusion pumps

The STC intends to co-ordinate the response from companies in the STC – to ensure all equipment is provided in the right quantity, at the right time and that companies are paid for their work.

Based on initial discussions and feedback from Kieron, we believe that we have the potential capability in our cluster region to make everything that is needed. We also think that if you, the person reading this, is not able to help then you will know someone in your network that is able to help and you could pass on their details to us and vice versa.

We know that we have several issues to deal with:

  1. Raw materials – things like polypropylene – we are starting to work on this, any thoughts gratefully received
  2. Cash flow – we have confirmation that any orders placed by the NHS will be paid for but payment is made on an invoice basis – we are looking at ways to help with this
  3. Staff availability – if staff are currently furloughed in your company, that’s ok, we just need time with a representative of your company this week, to work through the potential needs and order fulfilment
  4. Logistics – we are starting to work on this, any thoughts gratefully received

There is a great deal of enthusiasm from STC members to do their bit in the fight against the Corona Virus. I have heard that through a D&T Schools network in Sheffield 38,000 masks have been made over the weekend. If they can do it then I am sure we can, and if we can sort out the need in Northamptonshire, I am certain we can continue on and supply many other parts of the UK, maybe even the world!

The PPE was pretty much all being supplied from China before, now the UK needs to take up the baton and do it for themselves.

I hope you can help.

If you can, you need to write to Pim van Baarsen by email; pim@silverstonetechnologycluster.com, and we will come back to you with next steps, asap.

Kind regards,

 

Roz

 

Roz Bird

Chair of Silverstone Technology Cluster

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